one way to interrupt unwanted moods
The other day I ventured off in the car with my dog Ella.
We were on our way to her favorite park for a walk.
She was beyond excited as we pulled up to the curb. As I opened the back door to
"release the hound," Ella launched herself out of the car.
I should probably mention that...
Ella does not leap
Ella can not leap.
At least, not without help.
Due to a spinal injury a few years back, Ella now requires a sling to walk.
I should probably also mention that...
Ella does not always recall
that she requires a sling and human
to accompany her on her walks.
Suffice to say, as I opened the door, I had just enough time to catch Ella's back end in mid-flight.
In doing so, however,
I managed to whack my head rather heartily on the frame of the door.
Apparently my boisterous shouts of pain,
frantic rubbing of head
whispered admonishments for reckless behavior,
deterred her not.
Once again, I scrambled to catch her as she began to stumble...sling in tow.
In doing so, however,
I managed to step straight into a muddy puddle of water.
Did I mention it was raining?
It was raining.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
My head was hurting...
my foot was hopelessly submerged...
my umbrella was long forgotten...
the rain and wind were steadily increasing...
and my dog was oblivious to my uncomfortable predicament.
It was quite literally the perfect storm for the beginnings of a bad mood.
But then something happened.
A hound dog, whose rather large head leaned precariously out a car window, howled at us as he whizzed by.
And not just a regular ole' howl.
This was a long protracted plaintive HOWL that seemed to reverberate all the way down the street.
Well...that was it.
I began to laugh.
My looming mood was,
in a flash,
interrupted by something
unexpected enough and powerful enough
to return both mood and perspective to "normal."
I recognized this phenomenon immediately for what it was and laughed once again despite Ella's affronted demeanor.
My own emotional pattern or state of mind (emerging bad mood) had been abruptly interrupted by the howls of a hound resulting in an immediate change to my state of mind and thus my mood.
This phenomenon can happen quite by accident (as it did above) or quite by design as explained by scientist, Neil Degrasse Tyson as he recounted a strategy Bill Clinton adopted when hosting Heads of State in the Oval Office.
As Neil recalls from his interview with Clinton:
On the table in the Oval office, where Heads of State sit around and argue, he (Clinton) said he had on loan from NASA a moon rock that sat in the middle of the table and any time a conversation was not working out or tensions were rising, he (Clinton) would say:
"PAUSE...you see that moon rock. It's 3.6 billion years old.
Now we're all just passing through here and we don't have very much time, so let's just calm down and figure out what the right thing to do is."
In other words, Clinton would reset the conversation with this cosmic perspective.
By design, Clinton, interrupted the emotional patterns of the participants in the room before they spun out of control, thereby returning the mood and states of mind to "normal," allowing cooler heads and hearts to prevail.
This ability to interrupt patterns, by accident or by design, is available to all of us.
It begins with noticing the mood or state of mind and then deliberately interrupting it with words, actions and or perspectives that are unexpected...
be they hound dogs or moon rocks.
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